Project Participants

Elisabeth PetryAshley JamesKathryn Golden
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Elisabeth Petry is the daughter of Ann Petry and editor of Can Anything Beat White? A Black Family’s Letters. She is also the author of At Home Inside: A Daughter’s Tribute to Ann Petry. She has more than fifteen years experience as a journalist at the Middletown Press, Meriden Record-Journal, and the Hartford Courant.Ashley James, MFA, is an award-winning producer, director, and cinematographer with national credits on more than 150 films, including the 2013 Academy-Award nominated The Barber of Birmingham. He is the grandson of one of the letter writers, Harold James of Wethersfield.Kathryn Golden, MFA, is an award-winning producer, director, and editor whose films have been showcased in the United States and Europe. Besides being an accomplished producer, she is the director and editor of the award-winning documentary about the Bondy-Roeper family of Germany, Across Time and Space.
Farah Jasmine GriffinDiane IsaacsWalter Woodward
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Farah Jasmine Griffin is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, where she has served as director of the Institute for Research in African American studies.
She is the author, among many other works, of Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II, which includes a chapter on Ann Petry.
Diane S. Isaacs is an adjunct professor of Jewish Studies and English at the University of Delaware. Before that she served as an adjunct at George Washington University and the University of Maryland. She taught Petry’s novels and short stories at all three schools. A long-time personal friend of the author, she wrote “Ann Petry’s Life and Art: Piercing Stereotypes,” the first doctoral dissertation on Petry.As the Connecticut State Historian, Walter Woodward brings a depth and breadth of knowledge about the state. He is an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut. Among his specialties is Public History, which gives historical context to real-world issues. He has won numerous awards for his publications on myriad aspects of the state’s history.
Tedd Levy
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As a representative of a partnering organization, the Old Saybrook Historical Society Trustee Tedd Levy writes the “Looking Back” column for the Shoreline Times and has written about Ann Petry, Anna Louise James, and Helen James Chisholm. A long time resident and historian, Levy offers both physical and social descriptions of Old Saybrook during the period the letters were written. A journalist and author of, Remarkable Women of Old Saybrook (History Press 2013), he also provides perspective on how the town, in hindsight, viewed members of the James family.

Final Panel